The Museum Alka of Sinj is one of the seven winners of this year’s European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage, the Europa Nostra Award, given out for achievements in cultural conservation, research, and education projects related to cultural heritage.
The winners were announced on Tuesday by the European Commission and Europa Nostra, a pan-European Federation for Cultural Heritage, which safeguards Europe's cultural and natural heritage. The awards will be given at the official ceremony on June 22 in Berlin
The Museum Alka of Sinj showcases the annual jousting tournament, Alka, held every August in the southern town of Sinj. The Alka began in the early 18th century, and is an equestrian competition in which the knights (called alkars) try to spear the iron ring (called alka) suspended on a rope across the racecourse with a three-metre lance, while riding their horses at full gallop.
The museum opened in 2015, on the 300th anniversary of the tournament, which was inducted in UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010.
The project “expands the one-day event into a sustainable model of raising awareness and education throughout the whole year, which is significant for the local community, the exclusive bearers of this tradition,” the jury said.
The museum provides detailed information on the various elements of the competition, its rules and history, and, through an interactive and multimedia exhibition space, presents the uniform, equipment, and weapons used in Alka. The museum’s digital archive showcases video footage of the competition and the processions from the earlier years.